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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2012, Article ID 672914, 15 pages
Research Article

A Critical Evaluation of Single Extractions from the SMT Program to Determine Trace Element Mobility in Sediments

1Center for Economics and Corporate Sustainability (CEDON), University College Brussels (HUB), Warmoesberg 26, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
2Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KULeuven, Celestijnenlaan 200E, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium

Received 30 November 2011; Revised 27 March 2012; Accepted 4 April 2012

Academic Editor: Larissa Macedo dos Santos

Copyright © 2012 Valérie Cappuyns. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Two commonly applied single extractions procedures, namely extractions with ammonium-EDTA and acetic acid, were evaluated based on the analysis of 72 samples from alluvial sediments. For most trace elements (Cu, Zn, Cd, Ni, As, and Pb), a significant linear relationship could be established between their ammonium-EDTA or acetic acid extractable concentrations and their total concentrations, the organic carbon content, pH, and Fe , Al, and/or Ca content in the sediments. The scientific understanding of trace element partitioning in the complex soil-water system with these simple models is rather limited, but they offer the opportunity to use data from single extractions in a more comprehensive way. Despite the fact that these extractions cannot directly be related to the bioavailability of elements, they can provide input data for use in risk assessment models. Additionally, they also offer possibilities to perform a fast screening of the mobilizable pool of elements in soils and/or sediments.